International Women's Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women's achievements throughout history and across nations. It was first celebrated in the early 1900s. At the start of 20th century sport was being enjoyed by women in upper social class only. These sports included archery, golf, tennis, skiing and skating. It was around this time that women were permitted to compete in the Olympic Games. The decision of whether women can participate in the event or not was up to men who operated the Olympic Games. The events that men considered being a "feminine sport" were recognized as women's sport events.
However, as sport was only enjoyed by the upper class, the number of competitors was limited. Only 22 female athletes participated in the second Olympic Games out of the 997 athletes from 19 countries. They competed in only two events which were golf and tennis.
So, when did women in Rugby start to be recognised? Well, women are known throughout history for their tenacity and perseverance, and if they wanted to play rugby, they played rugby! Unfortunately, they had to do so in secret and without the support of the sporting institutions. Public reaction to women playing contact sport was very negative, and in some circumstances, crowds turned violent. The first documented evidence of an attempt to form a purely women's team is from 1891 in New Zealand. However, this was cancelled due to a public outcry.
It took another 70 years before the sport started to be recognise and supported within the communities. It initially started as charity matches between the men and women teams but my 1982 the first Women's International Event took place and in 1991 the first Women's Rugby World Cup was held. After a stalemate of 70 years things were moving, and moving along quickly!
2019 now sees womens rugby strongly promoted across Ireland and the Six Nations Games televised to all the nations. What an amazing achievement, and we have come so far.
However, there is a still a way to go.
There is a new movement that we encourage all our readers to follow. The 20×20 is an all-inclusive movement to shift Ireland’s cultural perception of women’s sport by 2020 with:
a 20% increase in media coverage of women in sport
a 20% increase in female participation at all levels of sport
a 20% increase in attendance at women’s games and events
Everyone can help accelerate progress in this country by pledging to do just one small thing to help start this giant shift for female sport. Whether you’re a teacher who can help create greater parity and opportunities for girls, a journalist who can help increase visibility of female athletes and competitions, a parent who can attend a match or a person who can simply encourage a young woman to get involved in sport, we need you to show your stripes because if she can’t see it, she can’t be it.
Thanks to a dedicated group of coaches Coolmine are proud to be part of this growth in the sporting world. Coolmine now have a Mini's girls group with the hope of growing into a Youth and eventually a Senior Squad. Due to the increase of visibility in the sporting world of Women's Rugby, these girls now have role models to aspire to.